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Ambitious Goals with Fierce Determination: Marathoning Mom

Ambitious Goals with Fierce Determination: Marathoning Mom

It is time for me to spill the beans about my big running goals. If I post it on the internet then there is no taking it back!

I’ve been open about training for an October 2020 marathon. I want to run faster than my first marathon and finish under 3 hours 30 minutes.  However, this isn’t the finish line that my big goal is focused on.

4 Year Plan

The real finish to my running goal is to go sub 3 hours and PR again to qualify to run in the Canadian Olympic Marathon Trials in fall 2023.  If I work my hardest, wear the fastest shoes, and have perfect conditions then I may have what it takes to qualify. 

I know my own abilities and I’m comfortable admitting that I do not have what it takes in talent or work ethic to run a 2:22 marathon and move on to the Olympics. My goal ends at the Trials.

If you’re like me and just watched the USA Olympic Marathon Trials, I should note Canada follows a different format. Canada typically uses its national marathon championships as its Olympic trials, but full team selection not guaranteed and is time based.

Making this Goal

When I made this goal it was a 4 year plan. I talked to my family about it and made sure I had their support to pursue this goal. A goal this size requires a lot of hard work and has major time commitments. I am grateful that most of my weekday runs occur after my children have gone to bed so I don’t loose time with them.  I also have the benefit of a gym at work where I can focus on strength training and stretching at lunch.  As for weekends, I try to run early in the morning so I arrive home during or soon after breakfast is finished.  

I have spreadsheets that go until October 2023 with races plotted in along the way.

Yearly goals for race distances of 5k, 10k, half, and full marathons will enable me to track my progress and stay motivated. 

Shelby is getting marathon ready
Shelby is getting marathon ready

My Marathoning Mantra


The mantra I created for this goal is ambitious goals with fierce determination.  On days I’m tired or would rather eat ice cream than go run, I think about how strong I want to feel in 4 years when I crush this goal.

Budgeting the Marathon Goal

I have crunched the numbers and this is going to be a costly goal. For this year, I’ll incur approximately $500 in race fees and $1000 in running shoes.  Travel expenses for my 2020 marathon will be modest at $500. I choose a local race to minimize travel time, which can be stressful with kids.  My marathon will only require a ferry and one night in a hotel.  After adding it up, the 2020 expenses are equal to a trip to Disneyland. Still worth it in my opinion!

Next Steps

I hope you’ll join me, a mom of two little girls, as I train, race, and ramble on about running.

Do you have an ambitious goal that you’re working towards with fierce determination? Let me know about it in the comments.

Planning Ahead: This Mom is Going Goofy

Planning Ahead: This Mom is Going Goofy

2019 still has a few months to go, but I’m looking into the future at my next running goals… to infinity and beyond!

In my last post I shared that I was contemplating a marathon. This would be my second marathon and I’d be running it with the goal of improving my time. Ideally I’d want 3:45, but I’d also be happy with a time of 3:58 just so I could have the fastest marathon time in my household. Yeah, I’m competitive like that.

Today I’m sharing my future goals that took careful consideration and have been made with the support of my family.

This isn’t my typical blog post – it won’t help you or guide you through any running or parenting adventure. It’s all about me! Hopefully by sharing this you can get to know me a bit better.

Goal #1

I WILL run a Thanksgiving marathon in 2020. This gives me 13 months to prepare.

Goal #2

I WILL run Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge in January 2021.

This challenge is hosted by Walt Disney World and occurs over a weekend with a half marathon on Saturday and a marathon on Sunday.

63.3 Kilometers in a Weekend…Why?

If you’ve read any of my RunDisney Race Reports [Tinker Bell or Princess], you will know that I don’t run in Disney for personal best times. I run for the experience and fun photo ops.

While I still need to respect the distance and put in the training for this ridiculous challenge, I won’t have to focus on speed training and time goals. I run because I love running and I think this no expectation, no limitation approach to this race weekend will be fun.

I also suffer from FOMO and if I “only” ran the marathon I’d feel like I missed out on the fun of a challenge. My FOMO isn’t so bad that I would ever consider the Dopey Challenge which adds a 5km and 10km race in the days before the the other two races.

Why 2 Marathons So Close?

If I’m going to run hundreds of miles in training, I would be bummed out not testing out my legs to see just how fast they could carry me over the finish line. Running a marathon in October allows me to build up my mileage, test out my speed on race day, and then *hopefully* coast through the miles of training until the Goofy.

My previous marathon was late October and that winter was amazing for snowboarding. I had stamina and endurance and it was fun putting my marathon training to good use. I’m hoping to do that again, but apply it to another marathon.

I’m Beyond Excited

A family friend mentioned they were thinking of running the Walt Disney World Marathon in 2021 and I immediately latched on to this possibility.

Running the WDW Marathon has always been on my to-do list and the timing really works for me. I’m back to running some of my faster pre-pregnancy race times and I feel strong. I’m up for the challenge. It also doesn’t hurt that my baby will be 2 years old on race day, which is still FREE in Disney World.

My mom and my mother-in-law are thinking about doing the half marathon. My oldest would be able to run the 5km and has already asked her “bestie” [my dad] to run it with her.

And we all know I love to plan Disney vacations. 

Am I Ready for a Marathon?

Am I Ready for a Marathon?

I’m one of those crazy plan ahead people. For BIG goals, I like to have details worked out months (ok, it is really years) in advance. For the past month, I’ve been contemplating running a marathon.

A marathon is a huge commitment as a runner and as a parent. I completed my first marathon in 2007 and even though I puked my guts from mile 11 until the finish, I still told anyone who would listen that it was the best day of my life.Life was different in 2007. I was single, living in a trendy downtown neighbourhood, and had landed my career job. Life was good. I could be selfish in my training because nobody was relying on me for anything. Now there are a lot of factors to consider in taking on another marathon.

Are you ready for a marathon? If 42.2 kilometres sounds like fun to you, you should also consider:

  • Family
  • Costs
  • Holiday plans
  • Work demands
  • Personal health and current stamina

A marathon requires an intense 3 month time commitment. More time would be required if you aren’t up to 15km long runs at the start of the 3 months. There is never a perfect time to train for a marathon, but if you make it a priority then you can do it!

Marathon training
First Marathon in 2007 versus training for a half marathon in 2019.

Family

If your family isn’t 100% supportive of your decision to run a marathon, then don’t do it. Aside from the 3 to 4 hour runs that you’ll need to complete, you are also going to be tired, sore, and dare I say more irritable.

I always try and complete my runs before my daughter’s Saturday morning sports. To continue this, I’ll need to find something that doesn’t start at 8am. And now with two kids, this will be more difficult.  Luckily swimming lessons start as late at 11am in the morning. I also check sunrise charts and plan the earliest time possible that I can run. I’ve even calculated a start time that has me run in the dark, but aligns sunrise to the time I hit the trail portion of my run.

  • Potential Issue: I can’t expect my husband to handle Saturday morning breakfasts,clean up, and activities when I’m out running AND have him do it again on Sunday morning because I’m tired from the day before that I need more sleep.
  • Potential Solution: The compromise that would work best for us is that I’d go to bed a bit earlier on Saturday nights to catch up on sleep.

When my mother wanted to do an Ironman Triathlon she had to consider timing and it was best to wait one year until I was a freshman in university since she wanted to be present for all the activities and events that happened in my final year of high school. Know yourself and how involved you want to be or know how much FOMO you suffer from and plan accordingly.

Costs

If you tell yourself running is a cheap sport then you’re delirious! Running only requires a pair of running shoes… Oh and don’t forget moisture wicking clothing, double layer socks, Bodyglide to prevent chafing, special water bottle belt, another pair of shoes since you’ll wear out the first pair before the race, a sports bra that costs more than dinner for two at the Keg, recovery electrolyte drinks, the grocery bill from that time you’ll go shopping after a long run and accidentally buy the entire store, race entry fee, hotel for the race, the kiddie pool you splurge on out of guilt for not spending enough time with the kids, 8 bags of ice for when you realize you can hijack the kiddie pool for your long run recovery ice bath….etc. 

Holiday Plans

If you are thinking of a fall marathon then you’ll be completing some of your long runs (3+ hours) over summer.  If you’re planing a vacation you also need to consider how you will complete your long run.  I’d say live a little and miss a weekday run, but those long runs are not to be messed with.

  • Potential Issue: Your family trip to Europe occurs during marathon training.
  • Potential Solution: Look for a half marathon to participate in at your holiday destination. Or can you find a run club that will be running similar distance? Maybe travel with your training partner and map a run where you are visiting. Adjust your dates and vacation over a recovery week when miles are shorter and could be run on a hotel treadmill.

Work Demands

Are you going to be able to find the time to run or are you working 12 hour days in the office? I actually find when I’m super busy at work that I need to get my runs in to keep my sanity. However, this could be a vicious cycle if work and running keep you away from your family. Long work hours can mean more fast food meals, which could impact how you feel in your workouts.  This could mean more meal planning in order to eat right, work long hours, and feel good in your runs.

Personal Health and Current Stamina

I personally believe that anyone can run a marathon. However, the journey to that marathon start line will be different for everyone.  I wouldn’t undertake a 3 month training plan until I was happy with my 5km and 10km race times. After all, I want to run the next marathon faster than my last. If you have been running through an injury or hoping a tinge in your knee will go away on its own – then maybe get that checked out before fooling yourself into a marathon.

I include current stamina as well because you should be able to run at least 15km comfortably prior to starting your training plan. I would also suggest having run a half marathon in the last year before taking on a marathon. This will prepare you for a build up in training mileage. I like to eliminate “surprises” during training and you start to learn about your body when you increase mileage for a race above 10km. To read more on half marathon training and how I balance it with work and family check out my previous post Balancing Half Marathon Training.

Marathon Considerations
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What is the Verdict?

Will you sign up for a marathon or run away screaming less than 42.2km in the opposite direction? I’ve considered these factors and I’m leaning towards YES! I’ve got my spreadsheets out and I’m starting to visualize how I can make this work. Tell me in the comments if you have a marathon or multiple marathons on your bucket list.

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